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Building Home Studio DAW PC(I have the layout, need advice)

by SPTheGhost / January 21, 2006 11:13 AM PST

I'm currently paring down the choices for my future DAW build. As it stands, I'm in the later stages on planning everything out as I've spent roughly the last 2 weeks researching boards, compatible chipsets, audio/video cards, etc so as to not come on a board and ask typical "newbie" questions about building, or "help me choose the best(insert hardware choice here)" without doing most of the legwork themselves.

Now, I'll admit, I'm rather lost on the video card area. If I were a gamer and going for just gaming use, it'd be fairly cut and dry. But, I'm not a gamer nor is the PC to be used for gaming. Let me tell you what I plan to do and maybe that will help aid in suggestions.

As I said before, I am building this PC as a DAW for our home studio, however, I intend to use my camcorder to U/L digital video onto the PC and edit it for DVD use. So I'm gonna need a video card that fits those guidelines, yet, most of the cards I've looked at are all geared towards gaming. I searched for digital video editing/video cards etc etc so on and so forth and couldn't come up with much, just the choices I have now. I'm not after a video capture card, just a card that will be best for DV editing. So any suggestions better than what I have listed that better fit my intended use would be GREATLY appreciated!

I've searched through site reviews of most of these items and have a few already in mind, but I always try to ask people on a person-to-person basis for input as well. Below, these are the motherboards I'm looking at purchasing..... Any input yay/nay would be appreciated. Horror stories(hope there are none!) are welcomed too.

Motherboard Choices
1) FoxConn 925XE7AA-8EKRS2:
FSB: 1066/800MHz Chipset: 925XE/ICH6R chipset Memory: 1.8v (4) 240-pin Dual Channel DDR2 - 400/533 with or w/o ECC 4 GB Max, Mb/s LAN: Dual Gigabit Ethernet ports 10/100/1000 IEEE1394: Yes S/PDIF: Yes Exp. Slots: (2) PCIe x 16, (3) PCIe x 1, (3) PCI

2) ABit Fatal1ty AA8XE: (LAN specs?)
FSB: 1066/800MHz Chipset: 925XE/ICH6R Memory: (4) 240-pin DDR2, DDR2 Standard 533, Dual Channel, 4GB Max LAN: 10/100/1000Mbs + 10/100Mbs IEEE1394: Yes S/PDIF: Yes Exp. Slots: (1) PCIe x 16, (2) PCIe x 1, (2) PCI

3) Asus P5AD2-E Premium:
FSB: 1066MHz Chipset: 925XE/ICH6R Memory: (4) 240 pin DDR2, DDR2 600/533/400, Dual Channel, non-ECC LAN: 10/100/1000Mbs IEEE1394: Yes S/PDIF: Yes Exp. Slots: (1) PCIe x 16, (2) PCIe x 1, (3) PCI

4) Asus P5AD-E Deluxe:
FSB: 1066/800/533MHz Chipset: 925XE/ICH6R Memory: (4) 240 pin DDR2, 4GB max., DDR2-711(FSB 1066)/DDR2-600(800 FSB)/DDR2-533(1066/800 FSB) LAN: Marvell PCIe 88E8053 Gigabit, AINET2 IEEE1394: Yes S/PDIF: Yes Exp. Slots: (1)PCIe x 16, (2) PCIe x 1, (3) PCI

5) MSI 925XE Neo Platinum 54g:
FSB: 1066/800MHz Chipset: 925XE/ICH6R Memory: (4) 240 pin DDR2, 4GB Max, Dual channel, 533/400MHz+ LAN: Broadcom BCM5751 PCIe1x interface w/ 2.5Gb/s bandwidth, WiFi IEEE1394: Yes S/PDIF: Yes Exp. Slots: (1) PCIe x 16, (2) PCIe x 1, (3) PCI

6) ABit AA8XE: (LAN specs?)
FSB: 1066/800/533 MHz Chipset: 925XE/ICH6R Memory: (4) 240 pin DDR2, 533, Dual Channel, 4 GB Max. LAN: 10/100/1000 Mb/s IEEE1394: Yes S/PDIF: Yes Exp. Slots: (1) PCIe x 16, (3) PCIe x 1, (2) PCI

7) Asus P5AD-E Premium: (Dual channel? 711/533?)
FSB: 1066/800/533 MHz Chipset: 925XE/ICH6R Memory: (4) 240 pin DDR2, 4 GB Max., 711/533, non-ECC LAN: Dual Gigabit LAN, Marvell 88E8053, WiFi, AINET2 IEEE1394: Yes S/PDIF: Yes Exp. Slots: (1) PCIe x 16, (2) PCIe x 1, (3) PCI

1) Intel P4 531 Prescott 3GHz BX80547PG3000EK (Chipset Compatible: 925XE, 915G, 915P)
2) Intel P4 541 3.2GHz BX80547PG3200EK (Chipset Compatible: 925XE, 915G, 925x, 915P, 915GV, 915GL, 945G, 945P)
3) Intel P4 550 Prescott 3.4GHz BX80547PG3400E (Chipset Compatible: 915G, 915P, 925x, 925XE, 915G, 915P)
4) Intel P4 630 3GHz BX80547PG3000F (Chipset Compatible: 925x, 925XE, 915G, 915P)
5) Intel P4 640 Prescott 3.2GHzBX80547PG3200F (Chipset Compatible: 925XE, 925x, 915G, 915GV, 915GL, 915P, 915PL)
6) Intel P4 650 Prescott 3.4GHz BX80547PG3400F (Chipset Compatible: 923XE, 925x, 915G, 915GV 915GL, 915P, 915PL)

CD-R/RW + DVD-R/RW Drives
1) Plextor PX-716SA DVD-R/RW, CD-R/RW Internal Serial ATA ($109 new / )
2) Pioneer DVR-610B DVD+RW / CD-RW Drive ($57 new / )
3) Plextor PX-712SA 12x4x16x DVD+RW / 8x4x16x DVD-RW / 48x24x48x CD-RW($109 new / )
4) NEC 3550A DVD+R / DVD+RW / DVD-ROM / CD-R / CD-RW / CD-ROM / 2M Cache ID($42 new /
5) Sony DRU810A DVD+RW/CD-R/CD-RW Drive ($58 new / )
6) Plextor PX-716A($110 new / )

Hard Drives
a) Western Digital Caviar SE 250GB (WD2500JB) Hard Drive($100 new / ) b) Western Digital Caviar SE 200GB (WD2000JB) Hard Drive ($130 new / ) c) Seagate Barracuda 7200.8 250GB (ST3250824A) Hard Drive ($109 new / ) d) Hitachi Deskstar 7K250 250GB (HDS722525VLAT80) Hard Drive($99 new / ) e) Seagate Barracuda 7200.8 300GB (ST3300831A-RK) Hard Drive($150 new / ) f) Seagate Barracuda 400GB (ST3400832AS) Hard Drive ($229 new / )
Audio Card
a) M-Audio Audiophile 192 64-Bit PCI Audio Interface($165 new / )
b) M-Audio Delta 44 Digital Audio Sound Card($150 new / )
c) M-Audio Delta 66 ($180 new / )
e) M-Audio Delta 1010LT 24-Bit 96kHz PCI Card($200 new / )
h) M-Audio Audiophile 2496($100 new / )
Video Card
a) ATI Radeon 9800 PRO 128MB DDR($180 new / )
b) ATI All-In-Wonder Radeon X800XT($272 new / )
c) All-In-Wonder 2006 Edition Radeon X1300 Video Card($180 new / )
d) Radeon 9600SE Video Card, 8x AGP, 128MB DDR($75 new / )
e) Radeon All-In-Wonder 9600 Video Card($185 new / )

Power Supply
a) Ultra X-Finity 500W ATX w/120mm Fan / SATA-Ready / SLI-Ready / Titanium PS
b) Ultra X-2 Connect 550W ATX w/120mm Fan / SLI Ready / SATA-Ready / 20/24-Pin / Modular PS
c) Enermax 600W ATX w/Dual 80mm Fan (24-Pin / Dual PCI-Exp / SATA-Ready / SLI Ready)
d) Ultra / X-Finity 600-W ATX w/Dual 80mm Fan (SATA-Ready / SLI Ready / Titanium PS)
e) XG Vortec 500W ATX 12 (SATA, Dual LED Fans Speed Control, 20 to 24 Pin Adapter: PSVO-500)
g) XG Vortex 600W Dual LED Fan 20/24-Pin Aluminum PS

a) Clear Acrylic Case w/Lights( (4) 5.25" drive bays visible / (2) 3.5" drive bays visible / (4) 3.5" drive bays hidden / Color : Clear / MB Type: ATX / I/O Bracket: 7 / Power Supply: Standard ATX, PS/2 Form Factor( Not Included) / Fans included: 3 x 80mm Clear, Tri Color LED Fans / INCLUDED Fans optional: N/A / Front Ports: 2 x USB 2.0, Audio / Weight: 25 Lbs w/o Power Supply Dimensions: 18.5? x 8? x 17.5? (D x W x H) Features: Pre-Assembled, Clear Acrylic Case ? Ready to use out of the Box! / Comes with (3)80mm tri-colored LED clear fans with wire fan grills included and Installed! / Front USB and Audio Ports / Power and reset buttons included / Internal PC/Motherboard Speaker Included / All necessary hardware and mounting screws included
b) AeroEngine II Black( (4) 5.25" drive bays visible / (1) 3.5" drive bays visible / (6) 3.5" drive bays hidden / Color : Black / MB Type: Std ATX, Micro ATX / I/O Bracket: 7 / Power Supply: Standard ATX, PS/2 Form Factor( Not Included) / Fans included: 1 x 140mm, 1000RPM, 45.58CFM, 26.91dBA Front Intake Fan, 1 x 120mm, 1500RPM, 59.12CFM Rear Exhaust Fan / Included Fans optional: Supports up to two 12cm and two 8cm Fans in Acrylic Window. / Front Ports: USB 2.0 x 2, IEEE 1394 (FireWire) x 1, Audio x 2 / Weight: 25 Lbs w/o Power Supply / Dimensions: 7.9" (W) x 17"(H) x 17.4"(D) / Features: Jet Engine styled design for smooth and quiet air intake to keep case cool Fitted with quad blue LED 14cm fan at front of case to draw cool air with a strong air pressure and one 12cm transparent fan at the rear of the case. Mesh 5.25? bay covers Pulling handles installed at the side panel for easy pulling Clear acrylic side window supports up to two 12cm and two 8cm 2 piece stylish front bezel door Front USB, FireWire and Audio Ports. Aerocool's AeroEngine II Features Jet Engine styling, for a smooth and quiet air inlet keeping your components safe and cool. Meshed 5.25" bay covers. The clear acrylic side window supports up to two 120mm fans or two 80mm fans. Front door swings outward to allow access to the drive bays. Includes 120mm clear fan at the rear of the case and a Blue Quad LED 140mm Fan in the front. Supports ATX and Micro ATX Motherboards
c) xPCgear Pre-Assembled See-Through All Clear Green UV Acrylic PC Case w/4 UV Green Fans, Blade Fan Grill, USB2.0, Audio:
This ATX clear case is made of acrylic UV green material which will glow in dark when exposed to UV (Ultra-Violet) Lighting and totally clear with light green in the daytime. The case was professionally assembled by the original factory, which is good for PC system house, gamers to show off their goodies or amateurs to customize their PCs. This case comes with four 80mm UV green fans with finger guides! A stylish Blade Fan Grill was installed in the front panel to make the case look more attractive. Four 5.25" bays, two 3.5" bays, and six HDD bays make the case expandable for your future upgrade needs. There are also front USBs and audio jacks for easy access. Type: Mid-Tower / Mainboard: Standard ATX / Front Ports: USB2.0 and Audio Jack / 5.25" External Drive Bays(4) /3.5" External Drive Bays (2) / 3.5" Internal Drive Bays (6) / Rear Expansion Slots (7) / Cooling Fan (UV Green)1 x Front (Included) 1 x Rear (Included) 2 x Side (Included) / Dimension 18.5"x8.2"x17.5"(LxWxH) / Warranty 1 Year Manufacturer
d) X-Clear Acrylic Computer Case ($49 new @

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Well, a few recommendations
by Yash Keough / January 21, 2006 12:40 PM PST

First of all, you should stick away from Intel. Go with AMD. To be more specific, go with either their Athalon X2 4800+ or their FX Dual core version that has a higher clock speed, although I don't think it gives that much more performance from what I have heard. You do NOT want to go with a Pentium 4 as they are old technology, (single core-many editing programs can take advantage of two processing cores) and very hot. I have an AMD Athalon 64 X2 4200+ in my HP computer, and it is very fast, great for multitasking and excels in Video. They are the way of the future. Oh yeah, and you can also swap out AMD processors ;). As far as software, DEFINITELY go with the Adobe Production Suite Premium. I have the Adobe Video Colletion Professional and am upgrading in a few days and I love it. It is very professional and has been used for quite a few big projects. One notable one is the use of AFter Effects on The Aviator. Second, if you want fast rendering speeds, or real time previews when editing video, not editing, not working in a program such as After Effects, you need a card such as the Matrox RTX 100 Extreme Pro. This is a PCI card, not AGP of PCI express card. Then for Effects work, you want a second card, such as a Nividia Geforce 7800. These will improve render speeds in Visual Effects work. Personally, I think motherboards are overrated. Sure you need a good quality one, but as for performance increase, I don't think you'll experience much increase from board to board in video editing. I'm no expert but I still don't think it's that important, other than for ensuring you can add more RAM and such. Also, with P4's on HT technology, you can actually lose performance. Don't buy into Intel's marketing. DVD Writers-Pretty much they're all good. Just make sure they write everything and aren't suspiciously cheap. For Hard Drives, you'll probably want a RAID 0 configuration. I don't have one but for HD editing they are essential. If you're doing any of that at all or think you may want to that is. HDV however does not require it. That's about all I can say for now! Don't forget your firewire or USB either. Also, dual monitors are very nice when you get more advanced. They let you see more and have a less cluttered workspace. Also, make sure it has a reasonably high response time (12 or 8 ms or better - lower the number the better it is although be wary of manufacturer's claims). Be sure to get something with a relatively high contrast ratio and high resolution. I'm talking about LCD's by the way. Anyways hope that helps!

Yash Keough

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by damasta55r / January 22, 2006 2:34 AM PST

Floppy Drive/Media-card-reader-???
Operating System? suggest windows mce
Thermal Compound as a substitute for the retail processor's in the box, or (if oem ->Then DEFINITELY NEEDED)

Motherboard-Gigabyte or MSI /board
Processor-AMD Athlon 64 x2 3800+
Memory-1 GB Corsair Value (2x512)
Hard Drive-Western Digital Caviar SE 250GB (WD2500JB) Hard Drive($100 new / )
Optical Drives-Dual DVD-Burners?
Graphics Card-wait for all-in-wonder x1900xt? probably $400new...
Extra Cooling Fans if desired

Sound Card if desired, and takes off load from cpu-Creative Xi-Fi

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